Kristina Centnere

Founder of Sell the Brain

Kristina Centnere is a multi-preneur and upcoming TEDx speaker in the neuromarketing space. Over the last decade, Kristina has built her digital marketing agency, SocialCow, with a focus on wellness, including healthcare, medical aesthetics and CBD clients. After years of implementing neuromarketing into her client’s campaigns, Kristina created SellTheBrain, a neuroanalysis company that uses neuropsychology signals, including emotion recognition and eye tracking, to help brands significantly reduce marketing spend and multiply their profits by ensuring that client campaigns that resonate with their ideal customers. When not helping clients maximize their marketing efforts, you can find Kristina paddle boarding, hiking or finding new food spots in Miami or New York, where she splits her time.

Where did the idea for Sell the Brain come from?

Sell the Brain came from the play on words of what neuromarketing does, which is help brands sell the customer – or more specifically, the consumer’s brain – on products, services or ideas.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

For me, the key to a productive day is planning it the day before. While I have my routines, including greeting the sunrise at the beach, I also require a change of scenery quite frequently. So, in addition to having my to-do list ready the night before, I also plan out the best route for my meetings and calls, and where I will get some work done in between. That typically involves a Starbucks stop! I start my work day by 8 am, keeping my meetings strictly after 1 PM to maximize productivity.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am a strong believer in “better done than perfect.” There’s only so much that you can plan, so I focus on executing as soon as my vision is clear. I focus on that rather than the “how.” File that LLC, open your bank account, get your logo. Every day, make a step towards that vision.

Also, I find people who are great at things that are not my strengths. It helps make the vision become a reality quicker and in the best way.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Authenticity. I love seeing influencers show their posed photos alongside their real bodies without the lighting, the angles, etc. It is a step in the right direction for making social media a healthier place.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Giving myself a specific amount of time to have a breakdown or a rest. As an entrepreneur for over a decade now, I’ve learned that pushing through is not always the answer. Sure, sometimes you have to put your emotions on hold and proceed with the day, but you have to assign yourself a time to deal with them. Usually, when I feel overwhelmed, I will give myself a specific amount of time, based on the level of breakdown I’m feeling, to address it. That can look like a 20-minute reset nap, an extra hour at the gym, or a 2-hour time slot to do something creative such as paint, knit, doodle – whatever I feel like at the moment. Two hours is my max time allowed. After that, I get back to it and I am much more productive than if I were to simply push through my feeling of overwhelm.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I’m very proud of my younger self. She really did everything she needed to and most importantly, she trusted herself fully. I would just give her a hug and tell her she’s doing great.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

It is possible to accurately predict the success of your marketing campaigns prior to launching them, and without wasting resources on endless testing and tweaking. (It’s called neuromarketing.)

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Revisit and update your vision. This is something I do every 3 to 6 months in depth by writing out my perfect day in the future. Everything I have and am doing now, I have attracted in this way. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the effort in, but it won’t feel like you’re forcing anything.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Build strategic, authentic relationships. At one point, about 80% of our business came from other marketing companies. Most would see us as competition but we built relationships that made them feel comfortable to work with us.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve had several, and most of them happened when I didn’t trust myself. Overcoming any failure comes with training your brain to see it as a lesson or an opportunity, and spending as little energy as possible in reprimanding yourself.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Whitelabel products in a growing industry such as CBD. Instead of taking on the cost of manufacturing a product, whitelabeling anything allows you to cut your costs significantly and work with a proven product. The key is to find a product that has already sold in the market, providing proof of concept.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

An introductory course to deep learning – building artificial neural networks. I ended up committing to the entire 126-hour course even though I feel like a first grader in a Calculus class. How we think and how we teach machines to do it for us is the future.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

There are quite a few, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be Zapier. As my team would tell you, I drool over anything that makes us more efficient and minimizes time spent on tasks that a machine could do faster and with a lower chance of error. We automate many of our tasks, especially those that have to do with data transfer that then requires an action. For example, our clients upload something to a shared Google Sheet and Zapier automatically transfers that information to our review system, which is automated to send out review requests. This process alone saves hours of data entry. More importantly, it allows us to reinvest saved profits into our team’s education and be able to pay them more for tasks a machine cannot do.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

So many to choose from! I’m always reading some book related to either business or self-development. If I have to choose just one, it would have to be “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. The author’s story is an inspiration on its own but in this book, he explores the question, “Who are we?” in a way that has helped me see the definitions I have attached to myself, and those I have unknowingly placed on others. Reading this book is freeing yourself from cycles that may be limiting you.

It is one of the books that I enjoy listening to as an audiobook and have repeated at least six times – almost as many times as Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

What is your favorite quote?

“When there is a will, there is a way.” My understanding of this quote has significantly changed over time. Russians are often taught to work tirelessly towards our goals, achieving them almost by force. That type of perseverance landed me in the hospital with life-threatening septicemia at the age of 23. A blessing in disguise, it made me re-evaluate my approach and redefine this quote. I was no longer attached to the process, only to the way the outcome would feel. How I was going to accomplish – “the way” – no longer became a barrier, I simply focused on nourishing the “will.”

Key Learnings:

  • Focus on the will, not the way. Get very clear on what you want and the how will appear.
  • Be efficient by using time-optimizing technology like Zapier. The more time you can save on tasks that a machine can do, the more time you can spend on tasks only you can do which provides value to your clients and your team.
  • In a world without cookies, neuromarketing is gold. As platforms wind down cookie-use, contextual and programmatic marketing are becoming key players. To make them effective and cost-efficient, neuromarketing is the way.